Early Music Now
Press Release

Anonymous 4 – First, Last, and Often

Early Music Now Presents Anonymous 4

By - Dec 2nd, 2015 04:20 pm
Anonymous 4. Photo courtesy of Early Music Now.

Anonymous 4. Photo courtesy of Early Music Now.

When Thallis Hoyt Drake, the founder of Early Music Now, was putting together the concert roster for EMN’s 6th season, she wanted to book the new female vocal group that was beginning to make news in early music circles around the world. Thallis already knew two of the singers from participation in various early music workshops. But she was unsure if such a group would have sufficient audience draw by itself, so she opted to include the Seattle-based Medieval Strings (another ensemble of four women) for the May 2, 1992 concert at downtown Milwaukee’s St. James Episcopal Church. The combined ensembles performed for an audience of fewer than 100.

Thus began EMN’s continuing relationship with the ground-breaking vocal ensemble Anonymous 4 – a relationship that will draw to a close with a performance of their final tour program at the Basilica of Saint Josaphat on Saturday, December 19th at 7:30, and has included sold-out Early Music Now series performances at St. Joseph Center Chapel (1994 and 2009), the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (1997), the Basilica of Saint Josaphat (1998), and a collaborative sponsorship with the Artist Series at the Pabst Theater (2004) that was initially billed as a farewell tour performance.

That first Milwaukee appearance in 1992 was booked directly with Early Music Now, and predated their first major tour under management (1994-1995). Anonymous 4 member Susan Hellauer has said, “That was our first serious tour. We love Milwaukee. It is very important to us.” Since then, Anonymous 4 has produced more than 20 recordings and performed thousands of concerts world-wide. Early Music Now is honored to be on the “wish list” of presenters for whom they wanted to perform on this final tour.

Coming together as an ensemble in the fall of 1986 (coincidentally, Early Music Now was founded in November 1986), the four women needed a name to begin promoting their initial performances, and chose the informal title from the fourth of an important set of anonymous 13th-century treatises on music: Anonymous 4.

That choice of name required a bit of explanation at their 2009 Milwaukee performance. Less than an hour before concert time, one of the singers had to be rushed to the emergency room for what turned out to be far less serious than was originally feared. The 600-plus in the audience had to be informed that the name Anonymous 4 did not indicate the size of the group, which then delivered a stellar performance as a trio.

For the Saturday, December 19 performance at the Basilica of Saint Josaphat, Anonymous 4 has created a special concert to celebrate the five Christmas programs they have produced over the years, and to celebrate their nearly 30 years together. As Ms. Hellauer notes:

“The music in this program spans hundreds of years, from St. Godric’s mystical vision-born song, to the living, traditional Christmas songs of Ireland and America. The styles and textures vary greatly; the texts speak with many voices. But despite all the technical diversity, we sense a common purpose in these works. As if in response to the quiet force of a supernatural moment, when the paths of humanity and divinity meet, the composers of these songs marked each piece with some special characteristic, making each a universe in itself, and making each a unique artistic response to the Christmas story.”

This concert will be performed without intermission, and will last approximately 75 minutes. Tickets for Tier 1 and Tier 2 seating are sold out. Tier 3 tickets priced at $29 for adults/seniors and $10 for students are available online at www.EarlyMusicNow.org or by phone at 414.225.3113. Online and phone orders close Friday (Dec. 18th) at noon.

Recent Press Releases by Early Music Now - Page 2

Early Music Now Announces Our 31st Season

Milwaukee’s premier presenter of early music continues innovative programming

Early Music Now Announces New Executive and Artistic Director

Early Music Now has appointed Charles G. Grosz as its new Executive and Artistic Director.

Early Music Now Reports Record-Setting 30th Anniversary Season

Milwaukee’s premier presenter of world-class early music notes 30 years of artistic and fiscal stability

Early Music Now Announces Season 31

Milwaukee’s premier presenter of early music continues innovative programming

30th Anniversary Concludes with Music, Mystery, and Intrigue

Winners of National Baroque Performance Competition in their Milwaukee debut.

Early Music Now Explores Music of the Appalachian Hills

Milwaukee debut of Cleveland’s “Apollo’s Fire” promises toe-tapping tunes

Early Music Now Hosts U.S. Debut of Ars Longa de La Habana

Milwaukee residency is the fulfillment of a dream for this renowned Cuban ensemble

Early Music Now 30th Anniversary Includes Three Debut Performances

Music from Appalachia and the Colonial Americas, and a Baroque murder mystery

The Music is Great, the Sponsor is Extraordinary

A period instrument performance of music for string quartet and clarinet.

Early Music Now Announces Retirement Plans of Director as Search for Replacement Begins

Charles Q. Sullivan will retire at the end of the current season.

An Early Music Christmas – Two Performances

The miracle of new life in the dark of night.

Early Music Now Celebrates With French Ensemble

It all started over a sandwich – 30 years ago.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us